Buzzed about silent black-and-white film "The Artist" and Hawaii-set dramedy "The Descendants," starring George Clooney, both snagged multiple Oscar nominations on Tuesday, but it was Martin Scorsese's kids adventure "Hugo" that led the pack with 11 nominations. All three movies landed best picture nods.
"The Hunger Games" star Jennifer Lawrence, herself nominated for a best actress Oscar last year, helped announce the top nominees for this year's 84th annual Academy Awards.
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A non-traditional movie about the transition from silent film to talkies in 1920s Hollywood, "The Artist" also landed a best actor nomination for its French lead Jean Dujardin and a best director nod for Michel Hazanavicius. Clooney, disheveled as a vulnerable dad in "The Descendants," claimed a best actor nomination as well, with filmmaker Alexander Payne following suit for best director. Both films revved up the Oscar race with best film and fest actor Golden Globes in drama and musical/comedy categories.
Other Oscar competition for best picture includes Woody Allen's literary comedy "Midnight in Paris," civil rights era '60s maid ensemble "The Help," Steven Spielberg's World War I fable "War Horse," Terrence Malick's experimental "Tree of Life," baseball tome "Moneyball" and post Sept. 11 drama "Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close."
Dujardin and Clooney face off in the best actor category against Brad Pitt in "Moneyball," Gary Oldman as an espionage vet in "Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy" and Demian Bichir as an East Los Angeles father in "A Better Life." Suave up-and-comer Ryan Gosling was left out for his roles in "Drive" and "The Ides of March," as was Leonardi DiCaprio for his title role in "J. Edgar."
The best actress category comes down to a head-to-head between frontrunners Meryl Streep and Michelle Williams, both nominees.
Streep's tight-lipped, nuanced take on Margaret Thatcher in "The Iron Lady" goes up against normally demure Michelle Williams channeling the sexy swagger of Marilyn Monroe in "My Week with Marilyn." Both women snagged Golden Globe awards for their roles.
Other best actress nominees include Glenn Close as a gender-bending butler in "Albert Nobbs," Viola Davis as a mistreated maid in "The Help" and Rooney Mara as popular rebel Lisbeth Salander in "The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo."
Malick, Allen and Scorsese also grabbed best director nods. Angelina Jolie's Bosnian film "In the Land of Blood and Honey" was snubbed from the best foreign film category.
The ceremony, held at the Kodak Theatre in Hollywood, honors nominees in 24 film categories, voted on by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences' roughly 6,000 members. Comic Billy Crystal is set to host the telecast for the ninth time.
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Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close
Midnight in Paris
The Tree of Life
Best Supporting Actor
Kenneth Branagh, My Week with Marilyn
Jonah Hill, Moneyball
Nick Nolte, Warrior
Christopher Plummer, Beginners
Max Von Sydow, Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close
Best Supporting Actress
Berenice Bejo, The Artist
Jessica Chastain, The Help
Melissa McCarthy, Bridesmaids
Janet McTeer, Albert Nobbs
Octavia Spencer, The Help
Glenn Close, Albert Nobbs
Viola Davis, The Help
Rooney Mara, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
Meryl Streep, The Iron Lady
Michelle Williams, My Week with Marilyn
Demian Bichir, A Better Life
George Clooney, The Descendants
Jean Dujardin, The Artist
Gary Oldman, Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy
Brad Pitt, Moneyball
Woody Allen, Midnight in Paris
Michel Hazanavicius, The Artist
Alexander Payne, The Descendants
Martin Scorsese, Hugo
Terrence Malick, The Tree of Life
Best Adapted Screenplay
The Descendants, Alexander Payne, Nat Faxon and Jim Rash
Hugo, John Logan
The Ides of March, George Clooney, Grant Heslov and Beau Willimon
Moneyball, Steve Zaillian and Aaron Sorkin. Story by Stan Chervin.
Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, Bridget O' Connor and Peter Straughan
Best Original Screenplay
The Artist, Michael Hazanavicius
Bridesmaids, Annie Mumolo and Kristen Wiig
Margin Call, J.C. Chandor
Midnight in Paris, Woody Allen
A Separation, Asghar Farhadi
Best Animated Feature
A Cat in Paris
Chico & Rita
Kung Fu Panda 2
Puss in Boots